TV Influence

I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit to, watching TV in the last month. This isn’t out of choice, but more out of not wanting to go crazy while being ill and while trying to recover.

Today I was catching up on some of the programs I have recorded over the last week, as the weather really put me off venturing outside. I found myself particularly drawn in by ‘Happy Valley’. It was a recommendation and I have to confess, I’ll be making sure I catch up on the previous series.

As I was watching Sarah Lancashire’s character sergeant Catherine Cawood, battle her way through a¬†gruesome find, I wondered how many characters of TV have inspired members of the public to take on a career.

There are many who see television, particularly fictional dramas or soaps, as being useless and mind-numbing, but as I was watching the portrayal of a police officer’s work, I wondered about those who have perhaps taken (or will take) up a job in the force thanks to a series such as this.

I remember watching The X-Files (the first time round) and being inspired by the character of Scully. Not simply because she (almost) made having ‘ginger’ hair bearable, but because of the work that she carried out and the things she was able to uncover through science. It was because of this series that I moved on from wanting to be a paramedic (that was the fault of ‘Casualty’) and instead, work towards Forensic science.

Of course, my ability to remain focused in College disappeared when I started working for the BBC and I fell head over heels for Radio, but there was a large period of my life which was almost shaped, thanks to the work of Actors and Actresses on ‘the box’.

I guess it’s one of the only ways we are exposed to these lives as children. Unless friends or family are in a job, how else can we know what one can involve? Obviously, I appreciate that the jobs aren’t exactly how they¬†seem on the TV, but there is a large amount of truth in these shows (The X-Files not so much!).

I am wishing that I had paid more attention to ‘The Good Life’ when growing up though. As daft as it may seem, the self-sufficient lifestyle is becoming more and more appealing as I get older!

Looking back to look forward

A few years ago I made the decision to leave broadcast. I’d been working in and around broadcasters since I was 16.

I remember my first job. I was answering the telephones for Sue and Pete Wilson on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. The work was fun, chatting to the regular callers and ensuring the phones were answered as promptly and politely as possible. I was just shadowing to start with, but soon I was on my own when the guy I’d been working with, Matt Peacock, moved on to present his own show in the morning.

I had the time of my life at the Radio Station. I put in a lot of hours and listened to everything that went on, learning the ropes and taking up every opportunity to try something new. I moved on to present Sport Bulletins, to help out when the Sport team of Paul Furley and Ian Randall weren’t in and I loved it.

Even better was my stint co-presenting the Summer Saturday Sport show with Richard Atkins. I provided the bulk of the Sport input, including securing an interview with the Minardi F1 team boss Paul Stoddart. Sadly it was the day both cars fell out of the 107% rule and he spent the afternoon with the Stewards!

Over time, my career moved on and with stints at BBC World Service (working for grey bars – 24 hour news) and both Audio and Newsroom Playout project teams, I found myself wondering about the world outside the newsroom.

I don’t regret taking time out. Working as a software developer in Gloucestershire was good, but I must admit I don’t miss the peak time rush of Flamingo Flowers. Working in Despatch over Valentines Peak to help the team get the pallets on to vehicles and out the door was actually a lot of fun, but don’t tell them that.

Around 19 months ago, I got the opportunity to move back into London and back into broadcast. You may have heard of Bloomberg. A Financial and Television company which broadcasts 24/7, with shows out of the US, UK and Asia. As a Broadcast Engineer it’s been almost perfect. My colleagues have been amazing and are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

This week, I resigned.

So what now? Well, it’s time to take a step back into software development but within Broadcast. And sport. Time will tell on the detail but needless to say, I am very excited about the coming months!

Sadly it does mean that I won’t be taking part in the Arch to Arc cycle challenge for Help the Hospices. I plan on taking part in one of their other events, but not this one.

One thing you’ll notice missing from this blog, is my time at University. I did go. Part time, for 2 weeks. I quit after I got a job travelling with the BBC as part of the training team for their digital audio playout system.

Everything I know now, has been through hardwork, determination and passion. I wouldn’t mind attending a course as you always pick up new ideas, but for me, I wouldn’t change a thing about how I got where I am now. I’ve met too many wonderful people and have too many great stories to ever want to change that.